True or FalseMyth 1:  Buy a Green Card – The EB-5 program was established to help high-net-worth individuals buy a green card.

Fact:  The EB-5 program is a highly regulated employment-based permanent residence application that takes years to complete.  The initial application requires detailed proof of investment in a qualified project.  It also requires evidence of an investment of either 1 million USD or 500,000 USD and the creation of 10 jobs for U.S. workers.  The investor’s application is screened and, if approved, only a “conditional green card” is granted. The same in-depth review of the project and the investor’s background are conducted two years after conditional status is granted to ensure the individual’s continued eligibility for the EB-5 immigrant investor category.

Myth 2:   Loophole for Criminals/Terrorists – The EB-5 program provides an easier way for potential immigrants to go through background clearances, providing a loophole for potential criminals and terrorists.

Fact:  As described above, the EB-5 program requires an investor’s record to be reviewed two times – once for a conditional green card and then again when obtaining a permanent green card.  In addition to the normal screening process for other employment based permanent residence applicants, which is conducted twice for EB-5 applicants, the EB-5 applicant must have the project reviewed for compliance with regulatory requirements, including proving the requisite amount of investment and the requisite number of jobs to be created.  Moreover, EB-5 applicants go through a rigorous vetting process to demonstrate that their source(s) of funds is(are) lawful and that those funds can legally be invested into qualified projects.
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USCIS recently reported faster processing times of I-924 Applications for Regional Center Designation and the number of approved regional centers are currently at an all-time high, and both factors correlate to more I-924 Applications being submitted to and processed by USCIS than ever before. As a result, we have noticed certain trends that have developed demonstrating common issues that arise when submitting the I-924 Application for approval by USCIS. The following is an analysis of what we believe are the top five issues that arise, through the form of a Request for Evidence (RFE) sent back to the applicant from USCIS, when adjudicating the I-924 Application.
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In a welcome bit of news for the EB-5 industry, USCIS released updated processing times dated as of April 30, 2014 which show USCIS is processing I-924 applications in approximately 4.4 months. Earlier this year, the processing of I-924 applications was moved to the new Immigrant Investor Program Office (IIPO) in Washington D.C. The new EB-5 Program Director Nicholas Colucci oversaw this transition and, during the February 2014 USCIS EB-5 Public Engagement, expressed optimism that the move to the IIPO and ramp-up of new staff at the IIPO would lead to shorter processing times. This new announcement by USCIS appears to be the fruits of that labor by Mr. Colucci and the IIPO and is significantly less than the most recent processing time reports, which pegged the I-924 application processing time at approximately 12 months.

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